Friday, January 16, 2015

It’s not about losing weight.

Originally posted on September 13, 2014 on

If you’ve had a good look at me, either in person or in a photo, then you know that I’m (significantly) overweight. It’s no secret. I mean, weight is one of those life challenges that you just can’t hide. Given this, I’m sure you’re confused by my post title. If it’s not about losing weight, then what’s it about? Ahh, very good question, Grasshopper. Read along and you shall see.

I started a ten week kick-start program today at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (or FXB). Even though I researched and talked to friends ahead of time, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I was up a 5am this morning, a ball of nerves. I’ve been considering this program for probably over two years. I know it will be intense, and I think that’s just what I need. So why did I wait so long to join?

1) I had to believe I could commit to it.

We have this very nice elliptical machine down in our basement. Right in front of a very nice TV. My thought was that if I couldn’t even make it down the steps on a regular basis, how could I expect to make it to a gym way across town six days a week? So, I spent a year getting in the habit of using the elliptical.

(Phantom) obstacle one—knocked down.

2) The money.

FXB is not cheap. However, no good program is cheap. I do believe that in most instances the old adage, “you get what you pay for” is accurate. Seeing the results that FXB could produce, I was confident they were worth the money. However, I’m on a leave from work. I don’t currently have an income. I’d like to possibly stay home longer so I can continue to focus on our family and keep writing. That made me hesitant to shell out the money, especially before that (phantom) obstacle #1 was resolved.

Just last week, my husband asked if I had ever considered joining FXB. Wow, OK. I guess if the family CFO is asking if I would do it then that means (phantom) obstacle two is no longer an issue. I had myself believing that if I ever did want to join I’d have to convince him of how I would be dedicated this time. That it wouldn’t be like the too-numerous-to-count programs I’ve tried in the past. Guess I was wrong.

(Phantom) obstacle two—obliterated.

3) I’d be out of excuses.

I’ve been using my medical issues as a crutch for far too long. Yes I have significant hormonal issues and thyroid problems that make weight loss very challenging. But it’s not impossible. I realize that I’m going to have to use all my Batman super powers to make this happen. And fair warning—I might not be a nice person for a while as I’m going through chocolate withdrawal!

(Phantom) obstacle three—no more.

4) Before I can succeed, I have to love me just the way I am.

This is the most important thing I’ve learned from my journey. It’s also the most difficult one to accept.

If I had tried this program even a year ago, I would not have succeeded. I know this for a fact after today. When I walked in the gym, there were several people of all ages, physical fit levels, and sizes. As the morning progressed, I was pretty sure that I was the largest person in the room. We had to go through various stations to establish a baseline—body measurements, step test with heart rate, sit-ups/push-ups, stretch, weight, body fat, 1 mile run/walk, and a before photo.


Last week, the moment the lady on the phone told me that a two-piece swimsuit was recommended for the photo I felt uncomfortable. I don’t have a two-piece. Even if I were many pounds lighter, I wouldn’t have a two-piece. So I opted for the sports bra and tight pants. As I stood waiting for my turn, among many lovely ladies who look fabulous just as they are, I realized I wasn’t nervous at all. I wasn’t embarrassed to stand, half dressed, in front of people I knew and strangers.

And I did not feel ashamed of the way I looked.

The other monumental incident that happened to me today was the body fat test. It’s taken with this handheld gizmo. The lady punched in my numbers and handed it to me. Error. She tried again. Error again. She tried another one. Another error... you get the point. They weren’t broken—it just would not register my body fat level. In the past, that alone would have sent me into a tailspin, headed for the nearest joint that sold chocolate (which in this case is just across the street, so I wouldn’t have had to go far). Instead, I laughed and commented that no matter what the number is at the 5 week check-in, it will be an improvement. And in all truth—that was exactly how I felt. I wasn’t just saying the words to cover my embarrassment.

Finally, the walk. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run. I have a bum knee and doctors nixed my running long before I gained all this weight. But I do miss running. It used to be my thing—my way to release the stress of the day. Given my current weight and level of activity, I wasn’t surprised to be the last one in on the walk. (But I did run in those last few yards!) Again, in the past this would have upset me and I would have felt like I didn’t belong in the program and that I was drawing unwanted attention to myself. I would have been embarrassed. But today, I smiled the entire time and laughed with the wonderful people who were there to support the newbies.

After all these years I’ve finally figured out that my journey is not about weight loss. It’s about accepting and loving who I am. I have to wholeheartedly believe that I am not defined by my weight. I have to not be embarrassed about how I look at this point in time. I have to stop hiding. I have to stop blaming myself and thinking that I’m a failure.

I may be working toward a new life, but I’m no longer working toward a new me. I love the me that I am. I don’t need to lose weight to feel good about myself. I need to lose weight to be healthy.

Thank you FXB. After my orientation this morning I can say with confidence that my one and only true obstacle has officially been conquered. I’m ready for whatever you have up those boxing gloves of yours, but are you ready for me?

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